Stars of Northeast
Sania Begum is seen with representatives of Stars of Northeast at her residence in North Guwahati. Image credit: NI Laskar

Despite her abject living conditions and insurmountable household problems, 17-year-old Sania Begum did her village proud by passing the HSLC examination last year with flying colours, securing letter marks in every subject.

But problems arose at the time of admission in college; her mother, the sole bread earner of the family, did not have enough money to get her daughter admitted to college.

When the news reached the Stars of North East (SoNE), the talent searchers based in Guwahati, they appealed to their friends and well wishers to come to Sania’s help.

Seema Hussain, the well-known journalist and her family members’ group named “Paltan Bazar Cousins”, came forward to bear all the expenses for Sania’s admission in the prestigious Cotton College in Guwahati and Sania’s problems were taken care of for that period.

Members of SoNE, true to their practice, kept in touch with Sania’s family.

When they learnt that Sania needed more financial support for her tuition and buying reference books, they raised funds once again with voluntary donations raised by members from among themselves.

In August last year, a team of SoNE members visited Sania’s house at Bor Rangmahal village in North Guwahati on the outskirts of Guwahati and gifted her with fruits, sweets, gifts, a set of motivational books and a sum of Rs 10,000 to take care of her further educational needs.

That was last year. This year, Sania passed her class XI exam with ‘A’ grade in all subjects following which SoNE & “Paltan Bazar Cousins” raised an aggregate amount of Rs 20,000 which was handed over to her at her residence in Bor Rongmohol village on Sunday.

While thanking the donors, Sania said she has to get up at 5 every morning, take a bath, and then rush to the banks of the Brahmaputra to catch the morning ferry.

Her tuition classes in Guwahati start at 7.30, college classes at 10.00, and after college she has to attend tuition again up to 7.00 pm. She takes the last ferry to North Guwahati and reaches home about 9 pm. After dinner she studies up to 2 am. She said, “I want to become a doctor and serve my people.”

The SoNE group, whose goals are “unearthing, nurturing, mentoring, and showcasing talent” have organised many programmes in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland in the recent months in which they have felicitated not only students who have excelled in academics but also those youngsters who have shown promise in games and sports, theatre, human rights, and Maths Olympiad.

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